Last week, the CDC released its annual abortion surveillance report (for 2013, because it's always behind). The big story the media picked up from it was that the American abortion rate has once again hit a record low. Of course, that's welcome news. But dig deeper, and the report also contains some extremely disturbing findings.
If you have a weak stomach, stop reading and just trust me when I tell you it's worse than you think.
Scroll to the bottom, where you'll find Table 22 (click to enlarge):
First of all, note that this table only includes data from 36 states, so every number I'm about to mention comes with the huge caveat "at least." The true numbers are higher.
"Intrauterine instillation" is also known as saline abortion. Also known as the method survived by such notable pro-life advocates as Melissa Ohden and Gianna Jessen. Also known as the method abortion apologists will tell you "doesn't happen anymore" whenever you mention Melissa Ohden or Gianna Jessen.
Well, it happens. It happened at least 113 times in 2013, mostly on older fetuses. It happened 45 times to babies older than 21 weeks, who could have lived outside the womb. Babies old enough to feel the pain of the saline solution burning their lungs. Babies the size of famous preemie Amillia Taylor when she was born:
Horrific. And they wonder why those cuckoo anti-choicers won't just shut up.
The next row is abortions committed by "Hysterectomy/Hysterotomy." A hysterectomy, of course, is the surgical removal of the uterus—in this case, a uterus with a child inside. A hysterotomy is an incision of the uterus, of the kind used in C-sections. The difference between a C-section and a hysterotomy abortion is whether the attending physician intends for the baby to live or to die.
Hey, remember when Donald Trump was asked about abortion during a debate, and he said Hillary Clinton's extreme position would allow abortionists to "rip the baby out of the mother," and liberal media types pointed and laughed and wrote think pieces declaring that that's totally not how abortion works, right guys? In 2013, forty-five babies became victims of abortion by hysterectomy or hysterotomy methods. Nine of them were 21 weeks gestation or older.
My unfavorable opinion of Trump is well-known, but I'll concede he got that one right.
Late-term abortions are only "rare" in relationship to the many more abortions that occur by common methods in the first half of pregnancy. They are not rare in absolute terms. Even a single child's death in such a horrific manner is completely unacceptable.
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
We don't often ask for money. We're a shoestring operation, with no physical offices or paid staff. We keep our costs down so your donations can have the maximum possible impact.
|Above: A Yale student examines our |
"Why Should Non-Christians Care
About Abortion?" brochure
Secular Pro-Life was founded by students, and supporting the pro-life youth movement is a key part of our mission. Polls show that Millennials are both more pro-life and less religious than older generations. Young adults drive the demand for secular pro-life resources. The SFLA conferences are our best opportunity to equip pro-life student leaders to make the secular case against abortion on their campuses.
Our policy has always been to offer materials to student groups completely free of charge. We would hate for non-Christians to go unreached on a campus just because the pro-life student organization couldn't afford secular pamphlets! That's why we'll be at the SFLA conferences with materials galore for student leaders to take back to their schools.
Here's a testimonial from University of Michigan student Chrissy Healy:
University of Michigan is an extremely secularized community, and so it was of the utmost importance that our Students for Life group approached discussions about abortion from a non-religious perspective if we were ever going to reach the individuals on our campus. It was extremely important for our group (especially those members who came from religious backgrounds, but were against abortion for non-religious reasons) to be able to refer pro-choice students to resources like those provided by Secular Pro-Life. Without these, we would quickly lose our audience’s attention.
As just one example, one of our monthly events was centered on the “Why Should Non-Christians Care About Abortion?” brochures that we had received from Secular Pro-life. We made a sign and handed out the brochures to everyone who walked by, and it proved to be a valuable platform for beginning dialogues about abortion. That day, we even caught the attention of some of the Students for Choice members who were hosting their own event just down the hallway. They walked over to check out our information, which evidently took them by surprise, and left with a few of the pamphlets. Resources like these brochures and others from Secular Pro-life laid the groundwork to us diversifying our pro-life group, which is larger now than ever and includes some non-religious members.In larger organizations, the cost of conference giveaways is barely noticed. But for Secular Pro-Life, it's a substantial component of our annual budget.
I don't believe in asking people to do anything I wouldn't do. Accordingly, I have personally donated $100 to Secular Pro-Life for Giving Tuesday. Please join me in giving as you are able.
Thank you for your support!
P.S.—Our donation page also allows you to set up a monthly gift. If you are able to donate regularly, we'd greatly appreciate it! Just check the "Repeat Monthly Payment" box.
Monday, November 28, 2016
|Foster Campbell, left, and John Kennedy, right|
I have terrible news for you: the election isn't over. No, I'm not talking about Jill Stein's recount. I'm talking about the runoff election for Louisiana's next Senator, pitting State Treasurer John Kennedy (R) against Public Service Commissioner and former state senator Foster Campbell (D).
The good news? Mr. Kennedy has the endorsement of National Right to Life, while Mr. Campbell has the endorsement of Democrats for Life of America.
Louisiana is a bright spot for those of us who want a bipartisan pro-life movement. The state is so strongly pro-life that it's practically impossible for abortion supporters to successfully run for office. Its current governor, John Bel Edwards, is a pro-life Democrat. (It's also the state where Democratic legislator Katrina Jackson, who is black, championed an abortion facility regulation bill; Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Melissa Fournoy responded with threatening and borderline racist comments about her, because of course.)
How nice it must be to be able to vote based on a wide range of economic and social concerns, without having to immediately exclude a major candidate for condoning mass slaughter!
Indeed, abortion doesn't seem to be a focal point in this election. Neither candidate features it on their website. Mr. Kennedy's website doesn't even have an "Issues" page, only a hard-to-search blog; Mr. Campbell's issues page contains no mention of abortion, but does devote space to disability rights, which is promising. Less promising: Mr. Campbell apparently failed to respond to Louisiana Right to Life's questionnaire.
Mr. Kennedy is favored to win, but we've seen how little that counts for. Early voting has begun and the race will conclude on December 10.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Premature birth can strike anyone; in many cases, the cause is unknown. However, research has uncovered some risk factors. Among them: tobacco use, lack of prenatal care, and previous induced abortions.
That last factor is, of course, a political lightening rod. But women deserve to know the truth.
The evidence for the abortion-preterm birth link is overwhelming. It appears in countries with vastly disparate cultural attitudes about abortion, in data uncovered in the course of exploring other hypotheses, and in meta-analyses. The abortion lobby can't dismiss the body of research as the work of one or two random scientists with a political agenda.
To publicize this information, Secular Pro-Life created the Prevent Preterm campaign at PreventPreterm.org. There, you'll find an easy-to-understand summary of the medical literature on abortion and preterm birth, as well as information on other preventable risk factors and where to find affordable care in your community. You can also learn from the stories of mothers who have experienced preterm birth after abortion.
Secular Pro-Life is very proud of our work on Prevent Preterm, and we hope you will use it as a valuable resource to prevent both abortions and premature births. One very simple way you can help is to share Prevent Preterm graphics on social media. Who knows? You could save a life!
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
|Above: Demonstrators outside the Supreme Court during Young v. UPS.|
[Today's guest post is by Christina Reagan.]
Back in 1978, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed with the intention to protect women from being fired or discriminated against on the basis of pregnancy.
Why then does it not seem uncommon that vulnerable pregnant women are told they have to "get rid of it" to move forward in their careers? And why is this an acceptable reason to end a pregnancy, even if the pregnancy is desired?
It doesn’t take much sleuthing the internet to find many painful abortion stories of women who felt they needed to have an abortion to advance their careers. As I read some of these stories—where some women experience painful, haunting dreams due to making a choice they really didn’t want to make—I keep on wondering, why it is socially acceptable for women to be told they must choose between child and career?
I personally know someone who was told by her superior to "terminate," after she told this person she was pregnant. She chose to keep the child and had to then switch jobs.
Why must a vulnerable pregnant woman feel she must choose between a child and a career? This is a horrible spot to put a woman in, particularly if she is single and depends on that income for survival. Many women are just starting out and are hoping to advance in their careers. They may be advised by well-meaning superiors, colleagues, family, and friends that having a baby (especially if there is no husband involved) will stall their progress or will destroy their careers irreparably. They will never be that person they want to be or have that career they aim to have. What is worse is that they are led to believe they won’t be able to feed and provide for that child should they choose to keep the pregnancy.
As feminists, fighting for women’s rights, don’t we have a duty to protect the vulnerable from being coerced? Don’t we have a duty to ensure that a woman is not hampered in her career progress by her choice to have a child, whether she is single or not and whether the pregnancy was planned or unplanned? Why is abortion encouraged as a solution to a mistimed pregnancy in a young woman’s career? Why can’t we change this system?
In order to guarantee equality for women in the workforce, instead of viewing children as an impediment to a woman’s career, we must view them as a normal part of a woman’s life. Many women work as mothers and are amazing leaders. I have been through a difficult pregnancy, and the encouragement of those around me helped immensely. I had never been more vulnerable than I was at that time in my life, yet because I was so enveloped in love and support towards continuing to pursue my career and education, I did not lose hope. I was strengthened and empowered by those around me, who supported my pursuit of education and career despite the difficult circumstances I was enduring.
It is my hope that we can create these kind of environments for the vulnerable pregnant women in our midst. That they can be encouraged that motherhood and career success are not mutually exclusive. That they don’t have to choose between pursuing a career and having a child.
Monday, November 14, 2016
|Above: SPL speaker Monica Snyder addresses a pro-life youth rally|
Secular Pro-Life has long recognized the importance of student outreach. As a result, we have never charged an honorarium to campus groups. However, for financial reasons, we have required student organizations to cover cost of travel for SPL speakers. Also, since SPL is entirely volunteer-run and our speakers have day jobs, scheduling has been an issue.
Recently, a few groups have gotten around these hurdles that by hosting SPL presentations via Skype, making it absolutely 100% free. We're excited to do more Skype talks in the future!
In our experience so far, this works best with smaller audiences. For larger groups, it's tricky to coordinate Skype and other visuals like a powerpoint at the same time. But we will continue to learn by doing and work out the kinks. Even with smaller presentations, you can magnify the impact by inviting your student newspaper to cover it, like Tigers for Life did at Trinity University in San Antonio. (Good job, guys!)
If you are a leader of a student pro-life organization and you're interested in having a free Secular Pro-Life speaker, you can email us at email@example.com and/or come by the SPL exhibit booth at the Students for Life of America national conferences in January.
Thursday, November 10, 2016
In some ways, nothing has changed.
Regardless of who is in office, all pro-life people have an obligation to advocate for policies that will reduce abortion. Priorities will include confirming a pro-life replacement for Justice Scalia, and preserving the Hyde Amendment (which has saved the lives of over two million Americans) against attacks from the abortion industry. During campaign season, an apparent bipartisan consensus emerged on paid maternity leave; we'd like to see that bear fruit.
For our part, Secular Pro-Life will continue to make the science- and human-rights-based case for the right to life. We'll continue to work with student groups to expand their reach across religious divides. We will continue to do our part to prevent unplanned pregnancies, and to support those who face challenging pregnancies. We'll keep doing what we've been doing, outside the political arena, for the past seven years.
In some ways, everything has changed.
In his victory speech, President-elect Trump pledged to be "president for all Americans" and called for unity among Americans "from all races, backgrounds, and beliefs." I hope, for everyone's sake, that Trump's presidency adheres to that vision. But that is, to put it mildly, a very different vision from the one I have seen Trump espouse for the last year and a half.
The pro-life leaders and organizations that endorsed Trump are now in a position of power and responsibility. They will have the President's ear. I hope that they do not take that for granted, because they won't be the only ones seeking influence. I hope they not only encourage him to pass anti-abortion laws, but guide him toward a pro-life, pro-woman path, emphasizing the need for genuine respect of every human life. And yes, that includes the lives of people of color, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault, Muslims, Mexicans, and so on. It may get uncomfortable. I hope these leaders appreciate that our movement (particularly our youth movement) is largely made up of marginalized people, who identify with preborn children for that very reason.
One final thought: I have definitely been guilty of failing to look outside my college-educated social-media echo chamber. I thought Clinton was sure to win. Trump's victory took me completely by surprise. It should not have. I am going to make a concerted effort to expand my horizons, and suggest that we all do the same.
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Our dislike for Donald Trump is no secret. He is the next President of the United States; the American people have spoken and we accept the outcome. We will have a more in-depth analysis in the coming days. Until then (to paraphrase the great President Lincoln): With malice toward none, with charity for all, let us strive on to finish the work we are in.
No matter who our president is, we will always work alongside pro-life advocates of all political stripes. Women and babies come first.
No matter who our president is, we will always work alongside pro-life advocates of all political stripes. Women and babies come first.
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Secular Pro-Life president Kelsey Hazzard here. Last week, as many of you know, I participated in a friendly debate with fellow pro-life activist Lauren Muzyka. The debate was hosted by Students for Life of America. I took the #NeverTrump position, arguing that a Trump presidency would hurt the pro-life cause more than it helps. Lauren took the position that Trump's promise to nominate pro-life Justices to the Supreme Court outweighs his flaws. There was also wine. It was a lot of fun.
I hope you'll watch the debate in its entirety if you haven't already. But if you don't have time, let me leave you with a key passage from my opening statement:
So here’s what I propose. First: Whatever your view on the presidency, vote pro-life down-ballot. Don’t let the negativity of the presidential election discourage you from showing up to vote for your members of Congress and state and local officials. The odds are overwhelming that Hillary Clinton will be our next president, but her approval numbers are too low to give her a true mandate. With strong pro-life majorities in Congress, we can preserve the Hyde Amendment and stop her extreme pro-abortion agenda.
And second: we take a hard look at our movement, at ourselves, we have some painful conversations, and together, we do everything in our power to not only make Hillary Clinton a one-term president, but to replace her with a pro-life leader we can actually be proud of.And from my closing statement:
I’d like to reiterate what I said toward the end of my opening statement, which is that if you agree with me that there’s no good pro-life candidate for president, please don’t let that stop you from going to the polls. There’s so much more on the ballot. The President of the United States doesn’t decide if your state will have an informed consent law. The President of the United States doesn’t decide if your school district’s sex ed curriculum will include accurate information about prenatal development. The President of the United States doesn’t decide if the lot across the street from the middle school will be zoned for a Planned Parenthood. YOU decide that, by voting in your state and local races.This election has put the pro-life movement through the wringer. Tomorrow is a new day. Whatever results are announced tonight,* we will never stop fighting for the most vulnerable members of the human family.
*In the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, please let them be announced tonight. Let this not be a repeat of Bush v. Gore. Ramen.
Monday, November 7, 2016
Viewers could submit questions to us during the broadcast, and you did not disappoint. We had great audience questions. Unfortunately, due to time limitations, we didn't get to all of them. As Mik'aela Raymond commented, "This was a good idea but way too short." (In our defense, we had planned it for just 45 minutes, and wound up going close to an hour.)
So here are a few more questions, and my answers.
Alejandro C. asks: "Would you support pro-life candidates regardless of party affiliation?"
Absolutely! I'm an independent myself, and I want to see pro-life candidates in every party.
Janelle W. asks: "Why is it believed that a third party candidate isn't a viable vote? Does Kelsey agree with this? Does she believe her vote won't make a difference?"
My third-party vote is not a vote for Hillary Clinton. My third-party vote is not a vote for Donald Trump. My third-party vote is a third-party vote, full stop. (I find Trump and Clinton so unacceptable that if I couldn't vote third party, I wouldn't vote at all.) As I said in my opening statement, it's a way of maintaining accountability. A vote that tells the major parties that there is a voting bloc up for grabs, that we want an authentic pro-life candidate, and that they can't take us for granted, is not a wasted vote. It is a long-term-thinking vote.
My friend Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, of New Wave Feminists, tried to throw me a softball question (which was not asked): "Kelsey, doesn't a Trump victory show all elected officials to come that the pro-life movement will not hold their ground and WILL compromise in the future?" I think she has it exactly right.
Justin B. asks: "Question for Kelsey: if single issue pro-lifers abstain from voting for Donald and he wins without us, what is the plan going forward? Wouldn't we essentially exile ourselves from both parties?"
This is a fantastic question, and a hard one. Thank you for asking it nicely.
It's clear that not all pro-life voters are abstaining. Larger, well-established pro-life organizations like NRLC and the Susan B. Anthony List have endorsed Trump. If he wins, they will be in the drivers' seat, and Millennial upstarts like myself will not. I've accepted that. I'm hopeful we can all get along regardless, just as I hope to continue working with reluctant Trump supporters like Lauren in the event of a Trump loss. (That said, I think the odds of a President Trump are very low.)
But your core point, if I understand you correctly, is that if Trump wins, the pro-lifers who have publicly opposed him will be politically homeless. You are correct. I would say not that we have "exiled ourselves," but that we have been exiled by forces outside of our control. On the bright side, we'll have plenty of company in exile—perhaps enough company to start our own party, or to take the GOP back in 2020 or 2024.
Thad C. asks: "To what extent, if any, do other life issues such as war, death penalty, assisted suicide, etc, play into your decision-making?"
On war, both Trump and Clinton have proposed foreign policies I find morally abhorrent, and I think they are both likely to get us (further) into war. So it's a wash, which reinforces my decision to vote third party.
As for the death penalty and assisted suicide, while it would be nice to have a president that spoke out on those issues, they seem to be predominantly state-level fights at this point, with minimal federal involvement. Regardless, I place a higher priority on abortion, purely because of the number of human lives at stake. I would not vote for a "pro-choice" candidate solely because he or she campaigned against capital punishment or assisted suicide.
C.J. W. asks: "This is a wicked good discussion. Why aren't these two women our presidential candidates?"
You're too kind, C.J.
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern (8:00 p.m. Central, 7:00 p.m. Mountain, 6:00 p.m. Pacific), SPL president Kelsey Hazzard will appear on Election Whine, hosted by Students for Life of America:
It’s no secret that this 2016 election season has been horrible, with both presidential candidates vying for the lowest favorability ratings in history and doctors prescribing prescription drugs to deal with all the nonsense. It’s also vastly divided the pro-life movement. So we are livestreaming on Facebook a friendly debate called “Election Whine” between two pro-lifers: one Never Trump and the other pro-Trump.
Lauren Muzyka of Sidewalk Advocates for Life will represent the pro-Trump position and Kelsey Hazzard of Secular Pro-Life will represent the Never Trump position.
Lauren and Kelsey, both likely holding glasses of their favorite wine, will talk about their positions and SFLA will moderate the discussion and take viewer questions on Facebook during the 45-minute debate.
(Please note that each leader will discuss in their individual capacity and will not be representing any opinion of their organization.)The livestream will take place on the Students for Life of America facebook page. If you are unable to tune in live, a recording will be available soon after.
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
|Image via Feminists for Life|
[Today's guest post is by Mary Jensen.]
No matter what side of the abortion debate a person is on, they often fail to recognize that in the case of abortion there are at least two people involved. Many pro-choicers argue that unborn children should have no personhood status, while many pro-lifers are so focused on the rights of the unborn child that they are unable to make a decent counterargument against "my body, my choice."
One variation of the "my body, my choice" argument is that an unborn baby, by its very existence, is a threat to the mother's right to bodily autonomy. Since it is sometimes acceptable to use violence in defense of one's bodily autonomy—for example, fighting off a rapist—pro-choicers treat abortion as a matter of self-defense.
However, there are things that make abortion unique. Abortion does not simply terminate an unwanted pregnancy; it takes away a life in a very brutal way. The goal of self-defense is to stop the person from attacking you, not to brutally murder them. It is also important to consider the cases in which self-defense happens. Obviously, if there is a possibility that a person could be injured or killed, self-defense would be morally acceptable. Self-defense is also acceptable when the attacker is intentionally trying to take away a person's bodily autonomy, even if the act would not be considered harmful had it been done with the other person's consent. In the case of abortion, the unborn child is innocent. Their intent is not to violate the pregnant person's bodily autonomy, so the unborn child cannot be considered an aggressor. In most cases, the pregnant person's life isn't in danger, either. Therefore, killing would not be acceptable in the case of elective abortion.
Although people can choose not to have children, it is important to consider that, when a parent has custody over a child, they are obligated to take care of them. In most cases, parents can place their children for adoption if they cannot care for them. In the case of pregnancy, the pregnant person is the only one who can keep the child alive. This isn't about forcing pregnancy or parenthood; it's about the well-being of an already-existing unborn child. If a parent has custody over a child, they have no right to neglect or abandon them. They certainly have no right to abuse them, which is what abortion is. People have the right to abstain from sexual activity or use contraception in order to prevent pregnancy. They do not have the right to harm or neglect an already-existing child. It's fine to not have children, but it is wrong to abuse or neglect a child who has already come into existence.
When I say abortion is a competing rights issue, I am not implying that the unborn child has more rights than the pregnant person. I am saying that, while bodily autonomy is a right, it does not justify aggression.